Editor’s Note: The following recap is republished with permission from Cornell Big Red. It was NOT written by the Ithaca Voice.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Senior defenseman Reece Willcox has signed an entry-level contract with the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers, the team announced Monday.

[do_widget id= text-55 ]

Willcox’s NHL contract is for two years, starting with the 2016-17 season. For the remainder of this season, Willcox will report to the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, on an amateur tryout contract. Willcox is reunited with former Big Red teammate Cole Bardreau ’15, who was the AHL’s Rookie of the Month for January while competing for the Phantoms.

For a fourth consecutive season, Willcox was one of the anchors of a vaunted Cornell defensive unit. He was routinely matched up against the opposition’s top forward combinations, yet he still has a plus rating during the regular season en route to All-Ivy League first team honors. His 120 career games was highest among active members of the team, including extensive minutes as a top-four defenseman for all four years on the power play, penalty kill and at even strength. He blocked more than 200 shots in his four years on East Hill.

Already known as a steady defensive presence, Willcox emerged as one of the Big Red’s top-scoring defenseman this year. His two goals and 11 assists for 13 points over 33 games marked a career high, including a three-assist effort against Brown on Feb. 12. The native of Surrey, British Columbia was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Flyers before he arrived at Cornell.

Cornell has sent 29 players to the NHL ranks in program history, with Willcox’s NHL contract marking the fifth signed by a Big Red player over the last three years. There are currently five other NHL draft picks on Cornell’s roster.

[do_widget id= text-61 ]

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.